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Offbeat News

Where's the 'secret' White House Russia room? diplomat jokes

Washington - One of Moscow's top diplomats joked to President Donald Trump on Thursday after touring the White House that he was disappointed not to have seen the "secret" Russia room.

Hotpot vs bread: the culinary symbols of Hong Kong's political divide

Fpo - A humble loaf of bread has become a new symbol for Hong Kong's pro-democracy protesters who have embraced a slew of colourful and sometimes surreal memes as they push the Beijing-backed government for reforms.

What a relief! Paris show lifts taboo on historic outdoor loos

Paris - They were as much a symbol of Paris as croissants and the Eiffel Tower, though they had more than a whiff of scandal from the start.

Sexting scandal MP quits election as wife stands against him

London - A former British government minister who resigned after sending lewd messages to two women has withdrawn from next month's election after his estranged wife was chosen to replace him.

Pakistan installs statue of Indian pilot shot down over Kashmir

Karachi - Pakistan has put on display a statue of an Indian pilot whose plane was shot down over Kashmir earlier this year, invoking the ire of India's media.

Chinese hitmen jailed over repeatedly outsourced murder

Bejing - A string of hitmen who repeatedly subcontracted a murder to each other -- then failed to go through with the job -- have been jailed in China.

Bangladesh MP 'hired lookalikes' for uni exams

Dhaka - A Bangladeshi lawmaker has been expelled from university after allegedly hiring as many as eight lookalikes to take exams in her place, officials said Monday.

Trump Twitter photo attack backfires as Pelosi owns it

Washington - President Donald Trump's Twitter attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi following an acrimonious White House meeting appears to have backfired spectacularly.

Tulips from Amsterdam? A blooming scam, says new probe

Den Haag - Tourists are being ripped off at Amsterdam's famous flower market, with just one percent of all bulbs sold at the floating bazaar ever producing a blossom, investigators said Tuesday.

Japan student uses invisible ink to ace ninja report

Apo - A Japanese student aced an assignment on ninja culture by making her own invisible ink from soybeans in a stealthy move that impressed her professor.

Spanish police saved from sea by smugglers they were chasing

Madrid - Three Spanish police officers who were thrown into the sea when their boat crashed early Friday during a high-speed chase were pulled to safety by the drug-smugglers they were chasing, police said.

From Hitler to Michael Jackson, unlikely names for Nobel Peace Prize

Oslo - Eighty years ago on the brink of the bloodiest conflict in history, Adolf Hitler was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, illustrating that literally anyone can be nominated.

Vietnamese roll out Transformers-inspired robot with green message

Hanoi - There is more than meets the eye to the towering robot resembling a character from the "Transformers" movie franchise -- it speaks Vietnamese and is made from spare motorbike parts."Hello everyone ...

Spokesman defends dishevelled Duterte as 'very hygienic'

Moscow - President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesman on Thursday defended the Philippine leader as "very hygienic" and nice-smelling after he was mocked on social media for looking dishevelled in a meeting with the Russian prime minister.

Panther stolen from zoo after rescue from French rooftops

Lille - It appears to be France's most coveted cat: A black panther rescued from rooftops near the northern city of Lille last week has been stolen from the zoo where it was taken after capture, officials said.

Cancer-fighting pizza, scrotum study win spoof Nobel prizes

New York - A study of whether pizza made and eaten in Italy wards off cancer and an inventor of a diaper-changing machine are among the winners of this year's spoof Nobel prizes.

Could the Loch Ness monster be a giant eel?

Drumnadrochit - Is the Loch Ness monster a shark? A giant catfish? A sturgeon? No, it's a giant eel! Or at least it could be, according to a study published on Thursday.

Pope freed by firemen after getting stuck in Vatican lift

Vatican City - Pope Francis said Sunday he was late to his weekly Angelus prayer because he had been stuck in a Vatican elevator and had to be freed by firemen.

Pole caught in customs web with tarantula haul

Cayenne - Customs officials caught a Polish man was after trying to smuggle nearly 100 tarantula spiders in his luggage, at Cayenne airport, French Guiana, regional officials told AFP Saturday.

Spain civil war bomb detonated near Barcelona beach

Barcelona - A bomb dating back to Spain's 1930s civil war was detonated on Monday near the beach in Barcelona where it was discovered at the weekend, prompting the evacuation of sunbathers, police said.

'Sorry!' Johnson puts foot in it at Macron's palace

An invitation to the gilded Elysee palace of France's president in Paris usually prompts a sense of decorum and formality in a visitor of any rank.But not Britain's charismatic -- and sometimes controversial -- new Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Women to get gender-neutral rugby World Cup from 2021

London - The Women's Rugby World Cup in 2017 will be the last to bear that title with World Rugby announcing on Wednesday they are adopting a policy of gender neutrality for their tournaments.

Russian sailor's message in bottle found 50 years later in Alaska

Washington - A man gathering firewood in Alaska discovered a bottle with a handwritten message inside wishing the finder "happy sailing" more than 50 years after it was dropped into the sea by a Russian sailor."Sincere greetings!

Could Mexico cactus solve world's plastics problem?

Guadalajara - Mexico's prickly pear cactus, which is emblazoned on the country's flag, could soon play a new and innovative role in the production of biodegradable plastics.

Turkmen leader quells death rumours with return to TV screens

Ashgabat - Turkmenistan's all-powerful leader returned to state television on Wednesday, dispelling an online rumour that he had died.

Prized Thai buffaloes show off speed in muddy race

Chon Buri - Sloshing across a muddy field with men sprinting behind them, prized water buffaloes blow past cheering spectators in eastern Thailand on Sunday in a rare display of bovine speed.

Scotland Yard Twitter and emails hacked

London - London's Metropolitan Police apologised Saturday after its Twitter, emails and news pages were targeted by hackers and began pumping out a series of bizarre messages.

Salvini and Berlusconi bet on pets as Italy coalition wobbles

Rome - Italy's strongman deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini appears to be taking a leaf out of former leader Silvio Berlusconi's book by wooing voters with pet-friendly initiatives to shore up support ahead of possible elections.

Tiger, rhinos flee to higher ground in India's flood-hit Assam

Guwahati - A tiger escaped from a wildlife park in India's flood-ravaged Assam and stretched out on a shophouse bed Thursday, startling residents and shining a spotlight on the plight of animals caught up in the deluge.

Russian comedy duo pranks North Macedonia PM

Skopje - Two Russian pranksters famous for hoax phone calls have tricked North Macedonia's prime minister into seemingly agreeing to pay a bribe and accusing Russia of having "many spies" in the Balkans.
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